Abraham Lincoln

This is an analysis of Abraham Lincoln’s history in the eyes of journalists of his time posted by CSPAN–important original sources for a research paper on Abraham Lincoln

The following old film demonstrates something similar to today’s society–the uniformed voters scoff and ridicule those (like Lincoln) who stand up for what is morally right, while the ignorant don’t see or hear “truth.”

Proclamation of Thanksgiving
Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”

Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale’s request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

19 responses to “Abraham Lincoln

  1. Abraham Lincoln wanted to not let slavery expand and this was his plan to end slavery knowing that if slavery would expand it would die on its own, but he ended up abolishing slavery because the north won the civil war.

  2. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president and was elected to serve a second term. Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. Abraham Lincoln assisted the creation of thanksgiving. Abraham Lincoln was also known as an honest man that fought to abolish slavery. Abraham Lincoln was a great president and helped unite the country with the abolition of slavery.

    Fun Facts about Abraham Lincoln
    Honest Abe was the tallest president at 6 feet 4 inches tall.
    He set up a national banking system while he was president. He also established the Department of Agriculture.
    He was known as a gifted storyteller and liked to tell jokes.
    On the day he was shot, Lincoln told his bodyguard that he had dreamt he would be assassinated.
    He was the first president who had a full beard.
    He often stored things like letters and documents in his tall stove-piped hat.

  3. Abraham Linclon was the 16th president. He was known for his honesty. He was also known for his involvement in abolishing slavery, and seeking equality for everyone. He was also known his short speeches that packed a lot of meaning. Many people were amazed with his tenacity and unwillingness to give up. Unfortunately he was eventually assassinated by Booth. He protected our rights and constitution.

  4. Abraham Lincoln was a great man and president. He is my favorite president. He is the main reason why our country is united, in example when he chose to make Thanksgiving a holiday.

  5. Before I watched the videos and read anything about Abraham Lincoln, all I knew was that he was one of our presidents and that his face is ion our five dollar bill. I was surpriced to find out why we have a specific day for our Thanks Giving holiday. By reading who we should be thankful of and what, shows who he was. He was well respected and a great leader. It makes me think about Machiavelli, is it better to be loved or feared?

  6. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the united states. Abraham Lincoln was also was a great leader in the civil rights movement as well and he was a honest man.

  7. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. Lincoln lead the United States through its greatest crisis he Civil War. He was against slavery and under him it was abolished. He was part of the republican party and won the 1860 election with no help from the south. Lincoln was born
    February 12, 1809 and assassinated on April 15, 1865.

  8. If thanksgiving is a national holiday today the credit goes to president Abraham Lincoln. The great president of United States of America.

  9. Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest presidents. He is remember for his
    role as being a leader during the Civil War. However, I didn’t know that all the states were celebrating Thanksgiving on different days until Lincoln received a letter from Sarah Josepha to have Thanksgiving be an annual and National fixed holiday.

  10. The republican party was established in 1854 to stop the steady expansion of slavery. This was otherwise known as the party of Abraham Lincoln. Lincolns attitude and his dedication to his country would save the sole of America and make all her people free. He took office in March of 1861 when the U.S. lacked unity. He was attacked daily in the press and democrats referred to him as a third rate lawyer. Lincoln loved his country and respected the constitution. He was the right man for the job of preserving our union. He saved the country and put the country before himself.

  11. President Lincoln was a great president and a great man. He had to deal with many things (Civil War, the death of his sons) during his presidency, making Thanksgiving offical Holiday had to be a highlight.

  12. this was a great man. and also this is one the best men that every lived.

  13. This was one of the greatest presidents.

  14. I like how he speaks the truth and reminds us what the true meaning of thanksgiving is.

  15. We are lucky to be in a country were we all come together and celebrate something that happened years ago. Still to this day keep on the same traditions that were in the past, besides football and turkey.

  16. wow this is a very interesting reading. I had no idea what the really meaning of Thanksgiving was. And i honestly did not that different states celebrate thanksgiving on different days.

  17. Interesting. I never knew so much about Thanksgiving, being one of my favorite holidays. I didn’t know about all the states celebrating on different days, or that Abraham Lincoln was the one to make it a official holiday. I found this quite inspiring.

  18. I knew thanksgiving has been around since the beginning of american history but I didn’t know that every state use to celebrate thanksgiving on different days and it took Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor to write the president Lincoln and propose to him to make it a national holiday.

  19. Wow, I really enjoyed reading this, not only because Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official Holiday, but because he mentions the true reason we have Thanksgiving. It is obvious that so many people forget the real reason we do it, and that is to give thanks for what God (or whatever higher power a person believes in) for what we are fortunate to have, that others may not.

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